Good Girls or Bad Girls – Which Will YOU Choose?

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When I found out that Maly Siri was coming out with a book back in 2015, I checked Amazon.ca religiously waiting for it to come in stock. Finally that day came, and I was squealing inside once it arrived. But just who is Maly Siri, you ask? Step right up, my friends, and prepare to be amazed….

Born in 1985, Maly is an artist and illustrator from France who studied graphic design in Lyon before moving to Montreal in the late 2000’s. Known for her comics and for creating “The Muse” for the Naughty Alice fragrance line, she has also become famous for her incredible pin-up sketches. If you like Secrets in Lace (and I know you do), you might recognize her work from the calendar she produced with them featuring pin-up girls wearing their lingerie in 2016.

I have featured other pin-up artists on the blog before, but what I like about Maly is the realism she captures in her drawings. Her pieces remind me of classic works by Gil Elvgren and Alberto Vargas, but are brighter and less harsh than their painted predecessors. Life, joy, fierceness, shock, and even fear exude from the pencil strokes, and though I know I am looking at sketches, I almost feel like I am looking at real photos at times. My photographs can’t do the drawings justice, but I think you can still see why she has become one of my favorite modern artists.

So what will you discover if you find a copy of Maly Siri’s Pin-up Art in your hands? Depends on what you’re looking for. 😉 If you open it from the pink side, a plethora of sweet, innocent lovelies and cheesecake will meet your gaze. Buuuuuut, open it from the black side, and you will find yourself in the clutches of the most daring burlesque dancers, spies, gangsters and vixens in print. Check out the extra recipes and pulp stories she includes, and you might feel like a kid reading Where’s Waldo again; never finding a shortage of things to look at.

Most of the ladies featured are fictional characters, however, real-life models and actresses such as Angelique Noire, Idda Van Munster, Bettie Paige, Bernie Dexter, Dita Von Teese, Mae West, Marlene Dietrich, Eleanor Powell, Jean Marlow, Greta Garbo, Bette Davis, Hedy Lamarr, and Josephine Baker all find a beautiful tribute from Maly’s fingertips. I wish she would have drawn Norma Shearer or Yvonne De Carlo for us Canadian fans, but maybe that will come in another volume.

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Do have I any complaints about this book? Not really, but at this point, I will throw out my one disclaimer. There are some images that feature bondage scenarios (Bettie Page), near-nudity (burlesque dancers in pasties), and toplessness (the Josephine Baker sketch). If this is imagery you do not want to see, don’t buy this book. This is definitely not a book for children, but if you’re looking for a fun yet classic addition to your pin-up collection, Maly Siri’s Pin-up Art should be on your wishlist.

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My book is the original French version, but there is also now an English version available for purchase. For more information on Maly and her work, please check out her own blog and follow her on Facebook.

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Always with love,

Liz

The Canuck Pin-up

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Are You Ready, Boots? Start Walking!

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When you go dancing at the club, do you really feel like you’re dancing? You know… doing more than just the Left-to-Right Shuffle? My mom used to say that she would work out hard just by dancing at the local clubs when she was younger, and she’s not the only one. Swing… Go-Go… Disco… Love ‘em or hate ‘em, the dance styles of yesteryear made you move and groove, and seemed way more fun than what’s commonly done at nightclubs today.

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I’ve been watching a lot of Austin Powers lately, and the 60’s looked like they would have been a hoot to be a part of. Colourful and energetic, how could you NOT have fun? And I personally don’t see a lot of things promoting gyms and heavy, nasty workouts from that era. You all know how I feel about finding things to move your body that you already have to do, or doing something that is so fun to YOU, you don’t even realize how hard you’re working out. If you feel the same way, and are looking for how you can keep fit while imagining you are perfoming “Go, Go, Go Joseph” with Donny Osmond, look no further than the Go-Go Dance Workout.

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Dubbed the Italian Stallionette, Brooklyn’s Angie Pontani is the perfect one to lead this phenomenal 30-minute workout and reference guide. Her smile is electric and contagious, and she brings such a lighthearted, sexy feel to the World Dance New York line-up. And doesn’t she make you wonder what Tracy Turnblad from Hairspray would look like all grown up? 😉

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The DVD is broken up into six main segments: a Welcome trailer, a Warmup, Cardio Go-Go, the Go-Go Box, a Cooldown, and the Go-Go Encyclopedia.

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If you want a chance to practice the moves at a much slower pace, try the Go-Go Encyclopedia first, even though it is technically at the end of the DVD. This is also a helpful section if you want to focus a bit more on technique, and build up your repertoire of actual 60’s moves. You’re not under the pressure of having to keep up with the music in this segment, and it allows you to see the movements more clearly.

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When you’re ready to workout, you can start with the Warmup and prep your neck, core, and lower body. Though not as long as other warmups, who can deny how fun it is to pretend you’re a washing machine, or to “stretch out your claws” as you get ready to dance? 😉

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Next, you’ll find the Cardio Go-Go segment. This is a routine based on the “DiPinto Twist” by Los Straitjackets, and the dance created for the song. Each Twist and Shimmy makes you realize how wonderful it feels to move your chest and your hips, and you can make the Ponies, Holly Gollies, Pop-and-Shoots, Marionettes, and other moves as intense as you like. Just doing a proper Pony causes your obliques to twist without having to do a single oblique crunch. Now isn’t that awesome? But of course, my favorite moves in this segment are the shakes and shimmies; nothing makes you feel more Felicity Shagwell or Charo when you’re shaking everything you’ve got.

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After that, the pace slows down a bit, but picks up right away as you Grapevine from the Freddie to the Ann-Margret in the Go-Go Box. It’s a great way to actually feel like you’re dancing at a club, since it’s not really repetitive compared to most workout routines. You do the West Side Story twice in a row, but that’s it. You’re still working out hard, but you’re transitioning towards the Cooldown in a safe way, and giving Batman a run for his money if you know what I mean.

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Lastly, you enter the Cooldown. I like the stretches and movements Angie chose for this piece, and I find they do relieve the tension I’ve built up in my torso and legs throughout the workout. And just like in the Warmup, who doesn’t enjoy hearing the familiar strains of “There She Is: Miss America”? 😉

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I’d be lying if I said that Angie’s outfits weren’t one of my favorite parts of this DVD. They’re gorgeous, flirty, and allow for a full range of movement. And fringe is such a magical treat to watch and dance in, isn’t it?

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You know how I highlighted Esther Williams’s swimsuit collection back in the day? One of Angie’s outfits IS one! So really, now there is no excuse for any of us not to feel sexy when we work out. Just throw on your favorite swimsuit, and a belt for a pop of colour. Or no belt at all! As long as the suit is supporting your upper half and not digging in uncomfortably, you’re good to go! And the boots… Good gosh, if I could find those same go-go boots, I would be a happy woman. Although I don’t recommend trying these moves in go-go boots unless you are on a stable flat surface (and have the dance skills to not hurt yourself), they certainly give a dazzling workout for the eyes while you dance.

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One thing I will say about this DVD is that sometimes you can hear someone calling out the names of the moves from off-camera. This is particularly noticeable during the Go-Go Encyclopedia segment when there is no music to cover it. I have noticed this kind of thing happen with World Dance New York DVDs from earlier years, but I don’t think it really detracts from how fun and informative this DVD is.

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To learn more about Angie and see more of her work, please visit www.angiepontani.com. Please note that she is both a pin-up model and a burlesque performer, so viewer discretion is advised if you are not comfortable with this kind of imagery.

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For more modern go-go steps that you can use to bring out your inner sex kitten at the nightclub, check out her other DVD, Go-Go Dance with Angie Pontani. Both DVDs are available through Amazon.ca, Amazon.com, and the World Dance New York store. You can also access them digitally through World Dance New York’s instant video streaming service.

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Always with love,

Liz

The Canuck Pin-up

Final Shot Credits: Photographer – Katie Pahara Photography Boudoir; Hair and Makeup – Katt Panic Makeup Artistry; Guitar – Epiphone.

P.S. Please consult with your doctor before you start any exercise program. Your health is most important, even though I’m sure you will look fabulous doing this workout. 🙂

Bunny Love

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It seems, my friends, we have come to an interesting end of an era in these past few months. With recent books by Playboy celebrities Izabella St. James and Holly Madison taking people “behind the scenes” at the Playboy Mansion, a very grim light has been shone on what used to be the glorious Playboy empire. Once an instigator of the Sexual Revolution and the Feminist Movement, even what the company was known for—nude centerfolds—have been removed from the magazine as pornography has become so readily available through the Internet.

Although I never read one, I often was curious about the infamous “girlie” magazine growing up. In particular, the Playboy Bunnies themselves with their corset-like swimsuits and sky-high heels seemed so glamorous. From the first day they appeared, though, they were viewed as oppressed female slaves under the control of men just using them as sex objects. In reality, this was not the case. They were smart, regular-looking women from all different ethnicities and backgrounds; willingly and happily working hard through school and raising children.

To add to the mythos, most people have assumed that the Bunnies posed nude too, but that wasn’t always true either. Some did, and became Playmate Bunnies. Most Bunnies did not. Likewise, there have been many women who have posed for Playboy and are Playmates, but never worked in the clubs as Bunnies. Therefore, they are definitely NOT Playboy Bunnies. (Izabella St. James and Holly Madison fall under this category, and it irks me that they call themselves Playboy Bunnies. That’s just my beef, but many REAL Bunnies also feel that when they see women being called Playboy Bunnies who clearly are not.)

In 1998, a former Bunny from the New York City Playboy Club, Kathryn Leigh Scott, published a book highlighting interviews she had with over 250 women who, like herself, had worn the cuffs and collars all over the world. During her time with Playboy, she also worked with feminist journalist Gloria Steinem when she lied to get a job at the club, and published her “expose” in Show magazine. Kathryn and many others did not share Gloria’s experience, and still felt a sense of betrayal and resentment for being lied to and treated with contempt by the journalist when they met her years later as success stories themselves. With that, Kathryn took it upon herself to reveal the truth about what it was like to be a Playboy Bunny, and published her book with Hugh Hefner’s blessing as The Bunny Years: The Surprising Inside Story of the Playboy Clubs: The Women Who Worked As Bunnies, and Where They Are Now.

Back in 2011, a new drama called The Playboy Club premiered on NBC. I was so disappointed when the show was cancelled after three episodes, but having now read Kathryn’s book, I completely understand why. It was competing against shows like Mad Men and Pan Am, but it was also inaccurate. Many former Bunnies confirmed this and spoke up about it at the time. In the first episode, a Bunny accidentally kills the leader of a crime family after he follows her into a back room and attempts to assault her. Hugh was adamant about protecting the ladies, and this would have never happened in real life. If the Keyholders caused trouble, Management supported the ladies 100% and kicked those customers out. Plus, security was so tight that there was no way that an unauthorized person could have gotten into a room like that. That was just one example of the environment the Playboy Clubs offered their servers back then, along with flexible work schedules, incentive programs, transfers to exotic locations, and tuition assistance. Women who would become great doctors, lawyers, real estate tycoons, business owners, scientists, computer specialists, managers, actresses, performers, and mothers were given what they needed to support themselves and their families—as long as they were willing to work hard for it. How many jobs in our modern, liberated era would even provide us with half those things?

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When I think about the Bunny Era, I cannot help but feel a deep connection with the women who donned those ears. Though risqué in their time, they were pioneering on a new frontier, and making among the top 2-5% of women their age. They fought for women’s rights in the workplace, and showed us that they were more than just sexy cocktail waitresses. They inspire me to keep fighting for my dreams and work hard in a world that glorifies whining and laziness, and to remember that beauty and brains need not be exclusive of each other.

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Always with love,

Liz

The Canuck Pin-up

P.S. Kathryn’s book is available through Amazon.ca, and may be available at your local used bookstore or library. For a wonderful article by fellow blogger Michael D’Alimonte, and pictures from the Montreal Playboy Club, please check out this link.

Pin-up My Holidays: The Radio City Christmas Spectacular

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We all have interesting traditions for this time of year, don’t we? Some of us always get together at the same location… have the same meal… have a certain way of handing out presents… For my family, it’s the annual watching of Christmas specials that has been our tradition. It all started when my late father recorded Christmas specials onto tapes for us to watch again and again each year back in the 80’s. Everything from the original How the Grinch Stole Christmas to Mickey’s Christmas Carol made it onto those tapes. A Garfield Christmas, A Charlie Brown Christmas, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer… they’re all there. By the way, did you know that the classic Rudolph special featured a mostly Canadian cast? 😉

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Back to the point, after my father passed away suddenly in the early 90’s, these tapes became one of my family’s dearest treasures. Every year, we would watch those specials, and I found I could feel a closeness with my father yet again. In a way, I was glad that DVDs came along so that I could get the shows in that format, and no longer risk destroying the tapes with another viewing. Plus, sharing these specials with children in my circle and watching their reactions for the first time made me feel like I was sharing a part of my father with them, and keeping his memory alive. I’ve started watching some of those shows again this season, and as I type this, I’m sitting down to a newer favorite I’ve added to that collection: the Radio City Christmas Spectacular.

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Having held the record as the world’s largest synchronized dance troupe, the Radio City Rockettes first tapped and kicked their way into our hearts back in 1925 as Russell Markert’s Missouri Rockets. Showman Samuel L. Roxy saw their potential, and had them moved out to New York City as the Roxyettes. When the Radio City Music Hall opened in 1933, the renamed Radio City Rockettes took to the stage on opening night, and the legend was born. In the same year, they presented the first Radio City Christmas Spectacular, and it has been going strong ever since.

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When the Rockettes first appeared, North America was in the middle of the Great Depression. People needed a reason to smile and forget their problems for a while, and the ladies provided that with each performance. They became an iconic symbol of grace, beauty, and talent in the dancing world, and many a girl dreamed of becoming a Rockette one day. And what musical fanatic doesn’t sing along when they hear the strains of I Wanna Be a Rockette”? 😉

Over the years, however, changing times and tastes reduced the number of appearances and shows for the ladies. Even today, my friends look at me dumbfounded when I mention my annual tradition, and have no clue who these phenomenal performers are. Despite their drop in the public lexicon, the Rockettes and the Radio City Christmas Spectacular are still active parts of Christmas in New York, and the show sells out each holiday season. They have even expanded their show to a tour, and have added a new modern performance called the New York Spring Spectacular that is bringing them back into the limelight.

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What I like most about the Radio City Rockettes and the Christmas Spectacular is that women of all different ethnicities are represented among the dancers, and even different heights. There’s actually a cool trick they do to create the illusion of them all being the same height, but let’s keep that a secret, shall we? 😉  The troupe harkens to an era of elegance and simplicity that I think we all could use a little of in this dark, complicated world we live in. And even though the dancers could be viewed as “showgirls”, their costumes and moves are very tasteful compared to many performers we see today. (Nicki Minaj and Miley Cyrus, anyone?) Though some of the sequences use costumes that match their earlier days, they are quite modest, and some of the numbers, like “The Parade of the Wooden Soldiers”, use full, fun outfits directly aimed at kids. As an aunt, I would feel comfortable letting my nephew see this show without worrying about him seeing anything inappropriate. Plus, the show stays fresh by changing numbers over the various seasons, while still maintaining some of the classics like my favorite—“The Living Nativity”. One day I intend to see this show live in New York City, but until then, the annual watching of the DVD will remain one of my holiday traditions.

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For more information about the Radio City Rockettes, the Radio City Christmas Spectacular, or the New York Spring Spectacular, please visit the Rockettes’s website at https://www.rockettes.com/. As of this article’s press date, the DVD from their 75th anniversary is sold out on Amazon.ca. However, if you’re willing to order it from the US, it is available from Amazon.com here. Please feel free to check your local library to see if they have a copy, as that is where I have rented mine for the last few years. And if you have a chance to see them in person, do it. You won’t regret it.

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Always with love,

Liz

The Canuck Pin-up

For Terry – I love you, Dad…

P.S. Click here and check out the new Canuck Pin-up page on Facebook for more news, pictures, and tips about the vintage and pin-up scene here in Canada.

Final Photo Notes: Photographer – Katie Pahara Photography Boudoir; Hair and Makeup – Katt Panic MUA; Dress – Hell Bunny; Shoes – T.U.K. Shoes.

The Torch Burns On

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A few months back, I saw a video shared on a friend’s Facebook page that made me cringe. As upbeat techno music played, a cute 3D rabbit was working out; complaining the whole time about showing respect for elders. Even now, I can still hear the high-pitched rant of “You should make room for ME, Gladys!!!!” in my mind. Each year, we lose more and more of our precious veterans. And with this kind of message being spread, it can make you wonder if there is any kind of decency, honour, and respect left among the younger generations. I’m happy to say that there is, and where I found it might surprise you. 😉

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Heralding from Sweden, the band Sabaton has become a fan favorite in the Metal community, and actually has some of the most amazing lyrics I’ve ever heard. I got to hear them for the first time at the Nightwish concert in Vancouver. If their passion and connection with the audience weren’t enough, their songs just took me over the edge. Most of their lyrics are about famous battles throughout history; particularly from the World Wars. Their latest album, Heroes, focuses on specific men, women, and regiments that stood strong in the face of such atrocities… even through persecution and ridicule from their own people.

For example, the first track on that album, “Night Witches”, honours the female 588th Night Bomber Regiment of the Soviet Air Force. According to Wikipedia, these women were given 1928-style wood-and-canvas biplanes that could only carry six bombs at a time – not even any parachutes! Despite being given such inferior equipment, they flew over 23,000 sorties and supposedly dropped 3,000 tons of bombs. They also learned how to maximize every feature of those planes, and mastered a technique for idling the engines near the targets and gliding to the bomb release points. When they did this, there was only wind noise left to reveal their locations. The German soldiers said it sounded like broomsticks, and thus called the women “Nachthexen” or “Night Witches”. You can watch a lyric video for this song by clicking here.

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Another favorite of mine, “Resist And Bite”, tells the tale of Chasseurs Ardennais, an infantry formation of the Belgian Armed Forces. Their insignia was the wild boar, and they stuck true to their motto as they offered fierce resistance after the Germans invaded Belgium on May 10, 1940.

Although Sabaton’s songs cover heroes and battles from all over the world, Canadians are certainly not exempt from their mastery. “The Price of a Mile”, featured on the album The Art of War, speaks to the Battle of Passchendaele where we made headway where other armies could not. And the song “No Bullets Fly”? That merciful German pilot Franz Stigler highlighted in the lyrics eventually settled in Canada and died in Surrey, British Columbia. 🙂

Although Metal has been shrugged off by many as obnoxious, evil screaming, bands like Sabaton are showing that it is far from that. In fact, I think that the intense drumming, riffs, and vocals may be some of the best mediums to capture the sheer bravery, agony, and intensity our loved ones experienced… things they may never have spoken of again.

With that, I want to pause and remember the dear souls who lost their lives in the nightmare of war, and to wish a blessed Remembrance Day and Veterans Day to the brave men and women who have served in Canada, the United States, and abroad. Thank you for everything you have done for us and for your loved ones. We are truly grateful.

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Always with love,

Liz

The Canuck Pin-up

P.S. Sabaton’s albums are available through iTunes, music stores such as HMV in Canada, Amazon.ca, and Amazon.com. For more information about the band, please visit their website at www.sabaton.net.

*First and Final Photo Notes: Photographer – Tanya Plonka; Hair and Makeup – Katt Panic.

The Vintage Kitchen: Muy Caliente Hot Chocolate

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Brrr. Yep. Winter is definitely on its way. Time to start lining up the usual suspects… AKA the warm beverages. 😉 Except, I’m not so keen anymore on guzzling down a drink made from some powder processed to death in a factory; filled with every filler you can imagine. Plus, there always seems to be one or two “powder bubbles” that escape my mixing, leaving me with a burst of unwanted chalkiness. Surely, there must be a way to enjoy a hot, decadent sip of happiness without having to endure all this nastiness, right?

Fortunately, I think I have found just the solution. In a most unlikely place, I spotted a recipe for homemade hot chocolate in a manga called Kitchen Princess that takes only two ingredients to make—that’s it. How simple and nostalgic is that? But then, why stop there? Why not make something that is just as fiery and fabulous as we pin-up enthusiasts really are?

And so, with that, I give you MY take on this precious recipe. Behold…

Muy Caliente Hot Chocolate!!!

Ingredients:

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Milk

1 Chili-infused chocolate bar

*Makes 2 servings

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1. Chop up the chocolate bar as fine as you can. The smaller the pieces, the quicker it will melt.

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2. Add the chocolate to a glass saucepan, and add 2 cups of milk. (Please DO NOT use a metal saucepan for this. It could cause the chocolate to melt too quickly, and for both the chocolate and milk to burn. Glass allows you to control the heat better.)

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3. Put the saucepan on medium-low to medium heat, whisking the chocolate and milk constantly until all of the chocolate melts. The key here is time and patience, but you’ll start to see it become this nice brown colour. (And yes, I know that is not a whisk. I actually don’t have one right now. *GASP*) 😛

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4. Keep stirring and whisking regularly until the hot chocolate just comes to a boil. Take it off the heat, and pour it in your mug.

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Once prepared, you get a most rich and delicious flavour with the blending of the dark chocolate and the milk. However, it’s not long before your taste buds and your throat are awakened by the chiles; warming you up in the most delightful way. 😉

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Lindt Excellence Chili Dark Chocolate is available at grocery stores and drug stores across Canada and the United States. But that’s just the beginning! You can make your hot chocolate any flavour you want. In fact, here’s what I want to try the next time stormy weather comes… 😀

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Always with love,

Liz

The Canuck Pin-up

The Canuck Pin-up Joins Facebook!

Hi everyone! First, I want to say a big thank-you to my readers, friends, and fans who have helped make the Canuck Pin-up what it is today. By reading and supporting this blog, you have blessed my life in so many ways. And even though writing is a passion of mine, and will continue to be, I admit that the vision I’ve had of an interactive resource and celebration of living vintage and pin-up in Canada has remained elusive… until now. 🙂

Starting today, the Canuck Pin-up has officially launched as its own page on Facebook! Along with the blog articles, you will now be able to find posts on the latest pin-up styles, your favorite Canadian pin-up models and artists, new magazines and books to tickle your fancy, and more! Come check it out on Facebook today, and I’ll see you on the other side! 😉

Always with love,

Liz

The Canuck Pin-up

Pin-up On The Road: Red Racer Beer

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As I drove through Surrey on my way into Vancouver, something big and red caught my eye. Wedged between a gorgeous display of cement and glass, the words “Red Racer” appeared, and my interest was piqued. Once I got to my hotel, I knew I had to find out more about this mysterious building.

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Created by Central City Brewers & Distillers, Red Racer is a line of delicious and well-crafted beers that has been gaining notoriety over the last decade. Starting with their India Pale Ale (IPA), they have become a more prominent player in the craft beer scene, and Central City was named the Canadian Brewery Awards’ Brewery of the Year in 2010 and 2012. They can be found throughout BC, Alberta, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and even Ontario. Plus, they have a bike-riding pin-up as their mascot! Who can beat that? 🙂

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Red Racer offers several varieties of beers, but I wanted to focus on three that are readily available in Southern Alberta right now. I first tried the original, the IPA, at the 1927 Lobby Lounge at the Rosewood Hotel Georgia. Golden to amber in colour, this 6.5% beauty is quite clear, and has nice, light foam. I found it refreshing with its strong grapefruit flavour, but it was also not too bitter. After I tasted it, I knew I had to try more of what Red Racer had to offer.

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A little lighter at 5%, the Pale Ale shares the IPA’s colour and foam, but seems a little more opaque once poured. It has no grapefruit taste, and is more bitter than the original. However, this does not detract from the taste, and leaves a clean, revitalizing flavour on your palate.

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And now… the pièce de résistance. Featured seasonally, the 5% Spiced Pumpkin Ale is a treat to be savored this fall. Caramel and thicker in clarity, its foam delivers a nice touch on this tasty beverage—like whipped cream on top of a piece of pumpkin pie. The scent of pumpkin floats into your nose in just the right amount, and combines with the rich, warmer taste hitting your tongue. It has no bitterness, but feels more like a glass of pumpkin pie filling without any unnecessary sweetness. To put it bluntly, I would rather have this than a Pumpkin Spice Latte, if you know what I mean. 😉

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There are more Red Racers to choose from, so feel free to try them all! For more information about these beers, and all that Central City Brewers & Distillers has to offer, please visit their website at www.centralcitybrewing.com.

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Always with love,

Liz

The Canuck Pin-up

Pin-up On the Road: One Night Only

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Ever had one of those times where you had an amazing opportunity come up, and even though you could only afford a short amount of time to enjoy it, you did it anyway? I had one of those opportunities in Vancouver, and even though it cost a pretty penny, I don’t regret a moment of it.

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Nestled in the heart of downtown Vancouver not that far away from the Orpheum lies one of the oldest hotels in the city in all her splendor. Built in 1927, the Hotel Georgia was THE place to stay during the golden eras of music and film. It was not uncommon to find celebrities of all kinds tucked in her cozy corners, including Katherine Hepburn, Errol Flynn, Marlene Dietrich, Bing Crosby, Bob Hope, Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr., Nat King Cole, Elvis Presley, and the Rolling Stones. And to top it off, even His Royal Highness Edward, Prince of Wales, and his brother George, the Duke of Kent, stayed there while attending the Seaforth Highlander’s Ball. Now THAT’s one Who’s Who guest list if I ever saw one!

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Reopening in 2011 after a major restoration, the Hotel Georgia became part of the Rosewood family of hotels, and was renamed the Rosewood Hotel Georgia. When I stumbled onto this hotel in an article about old-world glam hotels you need to see in your lifetime, I knew I had to see it. But of course, as I suspected, a room at such a legendary hotel also came with a legendary price tag. $348.33 for a single night stay including taxes and fees. I had already booked my stay for most of my trip at another hotel, but then I realized that the Rosewood Hotel Georgia was a mere few blocks away from that location. I knew I would be kicking myself if I didn’t do it, so it was settled. I could only afford one night, but it would be a night of a lifetime.

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If you’ve ever driven in downtown Vancouver, then you already know the crazy maze that it is: bus-only lanes in awkward places; no-turning lanes when you REALLY need to turn; waves of pedestrians and cyclists at every corner. I was born and raised in Edmonton, Alberta in my early years, and I thought I knew downtown traffic. That bubble burst fast in Vancouver. 😉 After what should have been a short drive from my previous hotel—and multiple trips around the block—I finally was able to pull into the parking area behind the Rosewood Hotel Georgia. It was here my journey into the lifestyles of the rich and famous began, as I quickly found out that valet parking in the special parkade below was the ONLY option available. Handing over my keys, the valets quickly brought a lavish cart to bring my things inside. Their exquisite care and manners made me feel like an empress, and I was told to make my way up the stairwell to the front desk where the bellhop would bring my bags.

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Climbing up the stairwell, glistening marble, wood, and metal surrounded me on all sides. I tried to keep my composure, but I probably looked like a gawking schoolgirl staring in wide-eyed wonder at everything around me. As promised, the bellhop was waiting for me near the front desk, and I was quickly checked in for the night. We made our way to the elevators, and I appreciated his kindness and service. Even as we rounded the hallways to get to my room on the fifth floor, I found myself in awe over and over again at the sheer beauty and detail put into every part of this place. Crystal lamps… Glossy mirrors… Immaculately clean walkways… But that was only the beginning once we got to my room, and I was left to enjoy my incredible night.

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The room was definitely the most lavish hotel room I had ever been in. The main sleeping area was small, but I was by myself, so that was fine. The soft white king bed more than made up for it. Looking out my window, I found an amazing view of the bustling Vancouver streets below. A long hallway lined with closets distanced me from the rest of the floor, so I was shielded from noise on the other side. Goodies upon goodies laid waiting for me in those closets, but I dare not even touch them for fear of earning extra charges. Except for the cookie; couldn’t resist that. The housekeeping staff put it out for me after I had left for an appointment and returned to find my bed turned down. I certainly was grateful that no extra charge was added for that. :p

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Dining was nothing to sneeze at in this Forbes Five Star hotel, and after quickly changing, I made my way down to the lobby. First stop on my list? The 1927 Lobby Lounge. I felt like that mysterious, glamorous lady you see in the movies taking a seat at the bar, and I had a great time chatting with the two gentlemen who served me some delicious beer. They themselves were immigrants to Vancouver, and it was fun to hear how they had come to the city. Plus, I got to learn that it boasts some of the best sushi restaurants in Canada. Yum. 🙂

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After I finished my beer, I took the elevator up to the Reflections Outdoor Restaurant and Lounge. The sun was just starting to set on the Vancouver skyline, and I couldn’t have picked a better time to enjoy this oasis tucked in a sea of skyscrapers. I took a seat in a comfy patio chair, and chose the Spicy Lamb Merguez for my meal. The hosts and the servers were all prompt and pleasant, and I began taking in the incredible ambiance around me. Couches and cushions everywhere… A running stream framed by glass flowing into an infinity pool… Lush tropical plants in just the right spots. And though it was the perfect temperature that night, there were plenty of heat lamps and blankets to make sure everyone felt cozy.

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Then my food arrived. At first glance, it looked absolutely scrumptious. The lamb was cooked to perfection with the spicy heat and the Middle Eastern zaatar spices, and the chick pea ragout was the perfect conduit for me to dip my grilled country bread in. When things got too spicy, the coriander mint yogurt saved the day, and provided an interesting twist on the traditional lamb and mint combination. Stuffed and surrounded in such luxury, it would have been easy to fall asleep at that lounge.

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Although I wanted to see it, the one venue I didn’t make it to was the Prohibition bar underneath the hotel. Housed in the old wine cellar, I was told it was definitely the place for a real 1930’s experience with live jazz music and everything. Unfortunately, I was so tired that evening, I had to pass on it and get some sleep. You’ll just have to go there and find out what it is like for yourself. 😉

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The bed itself was so delicious, and I found myself definitely enjoying my sleep. But one of the most anticipated moments of my enchanted stay was just around the corner, so I couldn’t stay there forever. Waking at the crack of dawn, I made my way down to the entrance to the spa. Passing huge columns of marble, I could see my destination through the tiny spaces in between. Beyond the spa counter, I made my way around the winding corners until I made it to the change room. Prepped and ready to go, I stepped through the glass doors, and just marvelled at the sight.

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The pool looked so amazing in the photos in that article, but seeing it in real life was phenomenal. Geometric lights along the floor shifted between colours, and wooden pool chairs under giant mirrors waited to cradle the day’s guests. Putting down my things on one of the chairs, I slipped into the cool, soothing water. It was just shortly after 6 AM, so I was the only one there. Swimming is a passion of mine, and I felt like a mermaid twisting and gliding through that pool. Plus, the Esther Williams swimsuit I was wearing didn’t hurt, either. 😉 As the time came that I had to go, I quietly left the pool and looked back on it, taking in the splendor I had just experienced. But that was not the only aquatic marvel I was about to meet.

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Enter the shower. Yes—the shower. I ended up booking a wheelchair-accessible room unknowingly, and even though I didn’t need it for that reason, I really lucked out in the end. The quality of bathrooms is an important feature to me in hotel rooms, and I was awestruck by this massive space. To accommodate wheelchair access, the shower was set up with no tub barrier or glass walls, and the water came out of a plate in the ceiling. Add the luxurious marble tiling and chrome accents, and I could have been staying in the penthouse for all I knew.

I finished up in the shower and packed my things, and called the front desk for a bellhop to come up. Another awesome man brought the trolley, and before long, my account was settled, and I was off to make my journey eastward. I admit I was sad to say goodbye, but I knew I would never forget the wonderful people I had met at the Rosewood Hotel Georgia, and the incredible experiences I had there.

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Having said all that though, let’s be totally honest here. As amazing as the hotel was, there are some things you should be aware of if you’re going to stay there. First, you have to pay for the valet parking. That was an extra $42.00 including taxes and GST added to my bill. Second, if you are not watching, there are LOTS of little ways that the staff will try to “add” to your experience. I can’t tell how many times I wanted to scream, “No, I do NOT want a bottle of water while I wait for you to bring my car up, THANK YOU!!!” 😀 I don’t hold it against the staff though; that’s their job. Third, DO read the Guest Services book as soon as you get to your room, and do NOT use the WiFi in your room unless you are willing to pay for it. Unlike many other hotels, the Rosewood Hotel Georgia only offers free WiFi in designated spots in the building; mostly in the lobby. I heard mention of WiFi during the shpiel given to me when I checked in, but I am so glad I read the book before getting dinged with yet another charge. All in all, as I think back on my night at the Rosewood Hotel Georgia, I can truly say it was a magical experience. If you get the opportunity to stay there—even for just one night—take it. Yes, you will pay for it, but you will certainly never forget it. For more information about the Rosewood Hotel Georgia, please visit their website at http://www.rosewoodhotels.com/en/hotel-georgia-vancouver. Norfolk 499